- Posted by factorytile
- do it yourself, Factory Tile Depot, Mortar, tile
Tiling is an investment. Make sure to protect your investment by always using the correct and approved installation methods. One of the most common questions we receive from homeowners is regarding spot bonding vs back buttering. While some believe spot bonding is an acceptable way to save money when tiling, we and the tiling industry as a whole disagree and recommend the back butter method.
Mortar, Spot Bonding and Back Buttering
Mortar is what keeps your tile bonded to the substrate. The first step of tile installation is to apply mortar to the substrate using the correct sized trowel, applying in a way that you end up with clean horizontal trowel lines of mortar.
Next, mortar should then be applied to the back of the tile. There are two methods to apply mortar to the back of tile:
- Back Buttering – The back of the whole tile is covered in a layer of mortar (like the image above).
- Spot Bonding – A small dollop of mortar is applied to the centre of the tile (sometimes additional mortar is added to the four corners).
Some installers and homeowners use the spot bonding method because they believe it saves money on the mortar and is faster to install. However, spot bonding is a bad practice and can lead to a variety of problems including: cracks, hollow areas behind the tile, uneven installations and even tile discoloration in some cases.
When tiles are properly installed using the back butter method, there is a stronger bond between the tile and the substrate, which minimizes tile breakage and lippage (the variation in height of adjoining tiles). Additionally, using the back butter method will help ensure:
- Even and complete adhesion every time.
- Even drying time throughout the space.
- Preventing blotching of natural stone where moisture is absorbed unevenly.
- A secure installation with no weak spots.
If you’re installing tile as part of your home renovation project, don’t try to save money by skimping on the mortar—you’ll end up paying a higher price in cracked and uneven tiles down the road.
Factory Tile Depot—a truly unique tile shopping experience.